Historical society to hear photo archivist

Posted Oct. 24, 2011, at 8:53 p.m.

WARREN, Maine — Kevin Johnson, photo archivist for the Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport, will present “Greetings from Warren: Selections from the Eastern Illustrating and Publishing Company” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1, at the Dr. Campbell House, 225 Main St. Johnson’s slide show and talk will consist of historical views from post cards of Warren and the surrounding towns.

The Eastern Illustrating and Publishing Co. was founded in 1909 in Belfast by Rudolph Herman Cassens, a native of Rockland. Cassens’s goal was to photograph small towns and rural areas from Maine to California, producing “real photo” postcards that would be valued for promoting tourism. Cassens did not fulfill his dream of photographing the entire country, but his company did produce more than 50,000 glass plate negatives of New England and New York from 1909 to 1947. The images take viewers back in time to when the roads were still dirt, horse drawn carriages outnumbered cars, coastlines were undeveloped and elms lined the streets. The slide show is sponsored by the Penobscot Marine Museum.

After graduating from college in Philadelphia, Johnson worked as a paralegal for many years. He and his wife moved to Maine in 2003, and he completed a year-long photography program at the Maine Photographic Workshops and became a teaching assistant there. Later he began working to preserve the negatives of the Eastern Illustrating and Publishing Co. which were owned by MPW at the time. In 2007, a flood in the building where the negatives were housed prompted MPW to donate the collection to the Penobscot Marine Museum. Johnson accompanied the negatives, becoming the photo archivist for all the museum’s photographic collections. Johnson, a photographer, co-owns Aarhus Gallery in Belfast.

Warren Historical Society programs are free and open to all.

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